Sierra snowpack well above average for the first time in years

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For the first time in several years, the average for the Sierra snowpack is well above normal.

As of Tuesday the average for the Southern Sierra from Yosemite to the Tulare and Kern County Mountains is at 149%.

"The recent storms put a lot of snow at low elevations up in the Sierra. A lot of snow is very good for the water supply and outlook for the year," said Doug DeFlitch, Chief Operating Officer for the Friant Water Authority.

The water authority teams up with the Bureau of Reclamation on how to mandate releases from Friant Dam at Millerton Lake.

Both agencies are monitoring the deep snowpack in the Sierra.

On Wednesday the Friant Water Authority will find out on how much water will be released out of the dam and delivered to contractors along the Friant-Kern Canal and Madera Canal.

"We firmly expect to hear what the long-range allocation will be for the water supply year and also what is the likelihood of an uncontrolled season," said DeFlitch.

The water authority is concerned about the large snowpack and warmer temperatures are especially as we get closer to spring.

The Bureau of Reclamation began water releases last week to make room for runoff from recent storms.

"It is not looking like a dry year but a pretty good wet year. So they are moving that water in the underground right now and getting things moving," said DeFlitch.

The snowpack average is expected to increase next week.

The Department of Water Resources will conduct a new snow survey on February 28th.
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